January 24, 2006 [LINK]

Evo Morales is inaugurated

The inauguration of Evo Morales was a joyous occasion for the millions of indigenous people in Bolivia. He put a high emphasis on remaining independent from the United States. See Washington Post. Surprisingly, however, Evo Morales voiced positive words about free trade with the U.S. See CNN.com. Lacking experience in actually running a government, he is bound to say contradictory things for the foreseeable future.

For a country that is so far off the radar screen of most American people and businesses, it always seemed strange to me that many Bolivians are so sensitive to perceived North American dominance. Let us hope that Morales does not disappoint his followers by promising too much or by indulging in too much demagoguery. There remains the broader issue of exactly what role capitalist "neoliberal" economic policies have had in Bolivia's economic successes and failures. The angst-filled recent writings of Jeffrey Sachs, the economist who advised Bolivia and helped defeat the hyperinflationary catastrophe of the mid-1980s, make me wonder...

UPDATE: Bolivian-born blogger Miguel Centellas found the inaugural address to be "rambling," and noted that Morales had to read from a script the portion that was in the indigenous (Aymara) language. His awkward delivery might raise questions about the authenticity of his Indian cultural roots. Miguel, who hasn't been posting much lately because he is about to tackle his dissertation (obviously a higher priority; I can relate to that!) is willing to give Morales a chance, nonetheless, which is a good attitude.

Costa Rica photos

Costa Rica montage 3 I found three more video freeze frames that are worthy of inclusion on the Costa Rica part III page: a shade-grown coffee field (good for birds!), a sugar cane field (not!), and this close-up of an Iguana.

UPDATE: Realizing that that page was getting overloaded, I separated the wildlife photos (Costa Rica part III) and the scenic photos Costa Rica part IV. I also redid the thumbnail montages for those pages, and the one for Costa Rica part II. Hopefully, that will be that.